United Petroleum faces court

NOTE: On 7 May 2020, the Federal Court issued a decision which found that the Notice to Produce referred to in this media release was invalid. On 14 May 2020 the Court dismissed the application.

27 September 2019

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Court against United Petroleum Pty Ltd (United Petroleum), alleging the company failed to produce documents when it was legally required to do so for an investigation into workplace law breaches.

In 2018, the FWO commenced an investigation into United Petroleum's potential franchisor liability in connection with alleged contraventions of workplace laws at a United Petroleum outlet located on Beaudesert Road in Coopers Plains, Brisbane. The outlet at the time was operated by Parashar's Pty Ltd under agreement with United Petroleum.

As part of this investigation, in November 2018 the Fair Work Ombudsman issued United Petroleum a Notice to Produce specified records and documents.

The FWO alleges that United Petroleum breached the Fair Work Act by failing to provide any records or documents as required under the terms of the Notice to Produce.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said taking action to enforce compliance with Notices to Produce was fundamental for protecting the integrity of workplace laws.

“Notices to Produce are an important tool that Fair Work inspectors use to obtain documents we require for our investigations and businesses that fail to comply with these requests could face court action,” Ms Parker said.

“Franchisors and franchisees should also be aware that enforcing compliance with workplace laws in the franchising sector continues to be a priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman.”

United Petroleum faces a penalty of up to $63,000. The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a Court Order requiring United Petroleum to provide the records and documents requested under the Notice to Produce so the FWO's investigation into potential franchisor liability can continue.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Court in Melbourne on 6 November 2019.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

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Media inquiries:

Michael Anderson, Assistant Director - Media
Mobile: 0409 120 830

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